Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Shawndra is Feeling Better

Sorry for the delay in posting. Yes, Shawndra made it home a few days before Christmas, and was able to enjoy all the holiday festivities. The day before Christmas, Santa made a personal visit to Ella's house (thanks JJ for arranging that experience for Ella & Shawndra). She was so excited!

The Turner family has been laying pretty low at home the last week or so. Shawndra had an outpatient procedure today to change out the G-Tube to an easier-to-manage type.

Shawndra has mentioned wanting to post, but hasn't had much time to do so between all the resting and doctors visits.

- Doug

PEG switch out

Hello all - this is Andrea, Shawndra's sister. I wanted to let you know that Shawndra did come home for Christmas. We actually got to celebrate as our family on Saturday night. It was nice. Shawndra and Doug are getting used to being back home, adjusting to TPN, all the fun tubes, etc at home.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that Shawndra went in today for a procedure to change out the PEG tube for a different diameter tube. Haven't heard anything yet except for that the procedure is done and she is back in a room, waiting for her to wake up more. The doc had not returned back to her room to discuss how things went when I was talking with my mom.
I want to personally thank you all for all of your support for our entire family. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family, group of friends, and community of supporters. I took this post upon myself, so sorry Shawndra and Doug, hope you'll get back on soon!!
Wishing each of you a Happy New Year! May you have many blessings this new year!
With great appreciation and love,
(Shawndra's sister)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are You Kidding Me?

You'll never guess where I'm writing this post from... yep, room 416 of 4 north at St. Josephs Hospital. I'm glad I waited almost all day to write this, cause I was pretty pissed off at the world come 1AM. Ah... but those two days at home were bliss, considering the alternative. (The weekend was also highlighted by the fact that I got to see one of my best friends, Kevin, who, with his wife, and 6 month old baby, were in town from San Diego for the holidays.)

Around 1:00 AM, Shawndra vomited quite a bit of bile, even though the PEG was opened up to relieve fluid and pressure. Thinking the PEG was blocked with a tiny piece of food, or something, I tried to flush her stomach with water, but that made it worse. Not one minute later, she vomited 60ml of almost clear water. And since she couldn't keep any medicines in her stomach, the break-through pain relief (oral Oxyfast) was all but useless. (Dang it! Why didn't we get a prescription for those morphine lollipops! My bad.) So fast forward to 2AM, and we're in the ER for fluids and pain relief. After three litres of fluid, things started working again. So... dehydration? Per the ER doc, it seemed as such, although the lab results didn't indicate that.

Without describing further details, I pray Shawndra can come home tomorrow. That's the tentative plan, at least.

Oh, and if by chance, the police officer from the KCMO or Leawood area remembers a maroon 4-door doing 80 MPH on State Line Road... I saw you do a quick u-turn to pursue, but thanks for not pulling me over. Hey, at least I had my hazard flashers on, right? Maybe I should be a part-time ambulance driver. My job would be to get the vehicle there, then somebody else drives it to the hospital.

Doug @ St. Joseph's Hospital, over and out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Home For the Holidays!

Hello Everyone- It is good to be back blogging with you all. I've missed you. I have to say, I am making a lot of mistakes in my typing, which I am trying to correct but apologize. My fingers aren't need a little typing rehab,hehe.

Well I got home this afternoon, so it has been a long day. About ready for bed, but wanted to say hello. Thank you all for your love, prayers, words, etc. Please do not worry about what everyone says, i can handle anything anyone chooses to write on the blog (unless it is downright mean). I appreciate everyone's protection, but I am realistic, I know what is going on, for the most part. Even though i am optimistic for a major miracle to keep me alive for many years, I am aware of my situation. People are free to blog how they wish, and I appreciate them all.

Thank you to everyone who came to help me out, thank you to my family and most of all thank you Doug. Many men can't handle such a situation and he has not only stood by me but he has loved me unconditionally even when i struggle to love myself. He lifts me up when I am down and he endures so much to keep our family running when I am not there to help (with a lot of help from my parents on that on). He is incredible. I have received so many miracles already, Doug being one. I think I have already received my share of miracles. I will just continue my service to God and hope he will use me here. Only he knows....

Happy Holidays everyone, I wish you great days ahead with family, friends, love and lots of laughter. Your friend, Shawndra

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On Second Thought, No Chemo

Just a quick FYI that Shawndra decided this morning not to take the chemotherapy treatment today. She hasn't been feeling very well the last few days. We whole-heartedly support her decision.

The infectious disease doctor visited this morning. He suggested that one more round of antibiotics be given, tomorrow (Friday), before heading home.

Ella's daycare/school is throwing a Christmas party late this afternoon. The kids have been learning songs for quite some time now. Ella sang Jingle Bells on the way to school this morning. She's quite the performer, I must say! I plan to shoot video and throw it up on YouTube so we can embed it in the BLOG. (Sorry, I may have just geeked out a bit there...)

- Doug

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MUCH better. Homebound Friday?

I am happy to report that Shawndra is much better this week. My apologies for the delay in posting. Honestly, I purposely waited until I had good news to report.

You know Shawndra is feeling better when she's cracking jokes and wanting to eat a greasy hamburger. :) It appears her bowels are functioning again, as evident by consistent, significant ostomy output and very little PEG output. Yeah! Her nutrition is still limited to liquids though. At home she'll be receiving TPN via her porta-cath. Sorry, baby, I don't think a hamburger is going to go down very well, but, I will blend that meat patty up to pure liquid, if you so desire!

What brought her out of the 20 hour/day sleep regimen was two units of fresh, red blood. Her hemoglobin was down to a very low 7.5 g/dl, where 12.1 to 15.1 g/dl is a woman's normal range. Tis the season for compassion and miracles, and I want to thank everyone, so very much, for taking time to pray for Shawndra, and our family. God is listening...

On Thursday, while still in the hospital, Shawndra will be infused with a different chemotherapy called ERBITUX. Her decision to continue chemotherapy was difficult, because at this point, there's a careful "quality of life" balance. If all goes well, we should be home on Friday.

Ella met Santa Claus Sunday! My sister, Kristine, is a Sunday school teacher at Prince Of Peach Catholic Church. After mass, Krissy's class, which Ella attends, and five other classes, sang songs. Afterwards, Santa strolled in and surprised them. (I'll post a photo the next time I see Krissy.) On seeing Santa, Ella's jaw dropped. Then she looked at me, pointed to Santa, and mouthed "Santa Claus"! It was a joyful moment to see how excited she was.

- Doug

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Surgery = More Pain

Shawndra is experiencing a lot of pain from this surgery. The doc mentioned that he had to "move things around" to access her stomach. There were many adhesions to contend with as well. Luckily, Dr. Morgan arrived early this morning to change the pain delivery to a continuous drip. An infectious disease doctor visited this evening to address her fever. It spiked to 103 just about an hour ago... arghhh, just another hurdle, but seriously... how much can one person tolerate? True to her spirit, she is a fighter.

For those of you that continue to feed our family, thank you! It's nice to have food readily available. I think I've dropped five pounds this week, mostly due to erratic eating schedules (not depression).

It's highly unlikely we'll be home this weekend, but perhaps early next week. Gary and I had not planned on bringing Ella up to see mommy tonight, but as soon as I pulled into the parking lot, she recognized the building and said "daddy, I want to see mommy". She told me she would be real quiet, as not to wake mommy. She said she wanted to sing mommy two songs: ABCD and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Mommy awakened with a big smile and sang to Ella the ABCD song. Then Ella sang to mommy the other. I hadn't cried all day (first in a week), but that, my friends, was just too much. What a little angel.

- Doug

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bile Be Gone

Shawndra is in the recovery room. Gary, her father, and I just spoke with the surgeon that performed the PEG placement procedure, and everything went as planned. Our family is very grateful that the surgery team at St. Joseph's Hospital was able to fit Shawndra into an already very busy schedule today. The surgeon started work this morning around 6:15AM, and it's 11:45PM now.

It's been a long day. I'm in the hospital room, waiting for her to arrive. The surgeon suggested she try to walk tomorrow. Perhaps in a few days, arrangements for Shawndra's care at home will be organized (home-health/hospice to hook up her TPN, instruct us on how to operate the pumps, if something should arise, etc.) and she can come home.

Last night's slumber party was fun, up until about midnight, when I was awaken by Ella's snore. For a few minutes, I just watched her breathe, so peacefully. Daddy ended up in the guest room, and Ella had the big queen bed all to herself. There's something fundamentally wrong with that sleeping situation, I know! But, I did not want to risk waking her up while carrying her into her bedroom. A few hours later, my mind finally let me sleep.

These days, I fall asleep praying. My intentions are the same tonight.

Love you baby. I can't wait for all of us to be home again.
- Doug

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No hole for the PEG... yet

Thank you, everyone, for your BLOG comments, phone calls, and support. It is greatly appreciated. For the past four days, Shawndra has been sleeping a lot, so she hasn't read your BLOG replies. But, she will soon.

This morning a gastroenterologist was unable to place a PEG. He said that he could not see the light from the scope to make the hole. This could be for a variety of reasons, one of which is the intestine has moved in front of the stomach. A general surgeon has been consulted to perform the task instead. We should see him this evening. And since our darling, mischevious Shawndra decided to let the NG tube "fall out" yesterday (hey, who was on duty while I was gone!?... just kidding), she will continue to throw up bile until the PEG can be placed. I'm trying hard to convince her to put the tube down one more time, but she'll have none of that! Once the PEG is in, that will be her "drain" since her bowels are not letting anything through due to tumor pressure. For nutrition, a nightly bag of TPN is infused via her portacath. That's the technical side of the story...

As I write this, Shawndra is in good spirits. She's semi-awake, while Pam is washing her hair with the "shampoo cap". Also she's listening to an Enya CD. That alone will relax just about anybody. The goal is to get Shawndra home so we can finish up the Christmas decorations and enjoy the holidays. The oncologist suggested Shawndra try a different chemotherapy named Urbatux, perhaps in a few weeks. Whether she chooses to continue chemotherapy is yet to be determined.

Tonight Ella and I will have a slumber party at home together. I'm near the point of exhaustion, so the family has arranged for Dustin to stay overnight with Shawndra. I need a good 8-9 hours of sleep, then the next 3-4 days of 4-6 hours won't be a problem.

There is a time and place for serious conversations with Shawndra. In a few weeks or months, or who knows when, those conversations may take place, but for now, while she is in the hospital, fighting to come home, please, be positive, and choose your words carefully. This also goes for BLOG replies. We pray she will be able to come home soon.

I refuse to end this post without some kind of laughter. Sweetie (Shawndra), I know when you ready this, you'll laugh too. And laughter IS the best medicine...

Shawndra's parents, Carolyn and Gary, have been caring for Ella during our hospital stay. A few nights ago, between the hours of 3 & 4 in the morning, she played a manipulation game with Grandma & Papa, not wanting to go back to bed, due to monsters in the closet. Last night, Grandma resorted to putting a plastic doorknob on Ella's room so she couldn't open the door. After much screaming, Ella tired, and fell asleep. Well, this morning, Grandma stepped into the backyard to leave the dogs (yes, Lexi is on a little vacation too) out. She stepped ALL the way out, and shut the sliding glass door. Can you see where this is going? Ella proceeded to lock the sliding glass door and run off the other direction. Grandma pleaded for Ella's return, but that had zero effect! Grandma had to use the garage door keypad to let herself back in. Needless to say, Ella was in big trouble. Although Ella didn't explain her actions to Grandma, I have a feeling she was just returning the "lock out" favor she experienced the night before.... :) I love that little tinker! Daddy & Ella will have NO problems tonight at home because.... she's sleeping in the same bed as Daddy! Yeah! Sorry Grandma & Papa, but I miss her so much. She's already requested to watch Scooby Doo cartoons. Hmmm, that explains the fear of monsters. Those "meddling kids"!

- Doug
I wanted to clarify what hospice means and why it was suggested. First of all, the surgeon suggested that the family start thinking ahead and maybe get the paperwork and ball rolling now, to ease the stress/hassle/work later. Hospice is seen by so many as the last few weeks/days/hours. But hospice can be the support needed for the family and care in the home for the patients in keeping pain managed and keeping them comfortable for quite some time. No decision has been made yet and no one has started any paperwork that I'm aware of. I pulled off some info from the internet to maybe clarify hospice even more.
*Hospice care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals (including as physicians, nurses, social workers, clergy), as well as volunteers and family members.
*Hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, with a special emphasis on controlling a patient's pain and discomfort.
*Hospice deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient's family and friends.
I hope that you all understand that we have NOT given up hope nor fight. Shawndra told me that she had not given up and I feel like I need to pass that along. We are all still in encouragement and positive mode. Please continue to pray for strength, for love, and for faith and hope. Each of us has different things that we are struggling with and each of us have our strengths. This has been such an amazing dynamic to watch my family hunker down, hold fast, lean on one another and others, and feel the amazing amount of love,faith, and support that has surrounded us. God has definitely been hard at work.
We are planning on having a nice Christmas with Shawndra at home!! Pray that Shawndra will be able to get out of the hospital by the end of the week.
- Andrea

Friday, December 5, 2008

Back in Hospital - Uncooperating Bowels

Just a quick post to inform everyone that Shawndra is back in the hospital (St. Joseph's on State Line). Please, no visitors yet.

Her bowels just aren't cooperating these days. Fortunately, with an NG and lots of fluids, output via the ostomy has increased.

Although it's never fun being here, it was nice to see the familiar faces of the 4 North Oncology "crew" yesterday. Many of them remember Shawndra's stay from two years ago, and as recently as a few months ago.

Thank you for your prayers.
- Doug
Hello all -
Shawndra requested that I send another email out asking for prayers. The surgeon spoke to her this morning and said that there was not much she can do at this point. They suggested speaking with hospice at this point. It sounds like they will be putting in a pic line for feeding in order for Shawndra to get nutrition. As you can imagine, Shawndra is very emotional at this point, as are all of us. I tell you, I must be an excellent actress. I sit here and cry finding out this news and emailing you, then I turn around and treat my patients with a smile and joke with them. Truly a roller coaster of emotions! I would guess that they want no visitors at this point, but please call first and find out from Shawndra and Doug what they are ok with.
So, the point of this email is to request prayers. Pray for peace for Shawndra, for comfort, for salvation. Lift Shawndra, Doug, mom, dad, Ella, and our entire family in prayer. We all need lots of thoughts and prayers for strength, peace, comfort, and love.
I will be holding on to the following verse:
Psalm 18:2-3 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

Thank you all!